girl using inhaler

Air pollution levels and rise of childhood asthma cases linked

A new report by Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation has found that more than a quarter of a million children are born in highly polluted areas, all with pollution levels that exceed the World Health Organisations recommendations set out in 2005.

Nearly a third of all hospitals in England are in areas which exceed the recommended pollution levels, including Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Birmingham City Hospital where air pollution levels are the highest outside of London.

Birmingham has the highest birth rates in the UK with a vastly growing population of over 2.6 million, making it the second largest city in the UK.

Research has produced evidence which suggest there is a strong correlation between air pollution and organ damage, particularly in children who are more vulnerable to developing asthma due to their faster breathing rate.

According to the NHS 1 in 11 children are living with asthma in the UK, also making up nearly a third of all paediatric hospital admissions.

"It is a national shame that a quarter of a million babies are born breathing toxic air every year"

Sarah Woolnough- Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation

Currently, it costs the NHS around £1bn to care for asthma sufferers, providing treatments such as prevention Inhalers and relieve inhalers.

It is estimated that there are 36,000 premature deaths a year caused by toxic air.

The charity is asking for the UK Government to address air pollution sooner rather than later and put it at the forefront of the fight against climate change.

The new research comes ahead of next week’s UN Climate Change conference which will be held in Glasgow.

Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, Sarah Woolnough, said: ‘It is a national shame that a quarter of a million babies are born breathing toxic air every year. How can it be acceptable that the first breath a baby takes could be so dirty it could seriously affect their long-term health? Every child deserves the best start in life and our government needs to act now to cut air pollution levels and do their duty to protect future generations from this invisible threat’.

‘The UK Government must blaze a trail, not just at COP26 but beyond, to bring in bold new clean air laws and set ambitious targets to clean up the air by 2030. If people are encouraged to swap their car for cleaner modes of transport and Government invests in more cycle routes, more frequent bus routes and if local councils expand clean air zones, there is hope that we can tackle air pollution, and all enjoy cleaner air’.

NHE Sept/Oct 21

NHE Sept/Oct 21

Improving care for long-term conditions

Join us in our September/October edition of National Health Executive, as we explore a range of topics impacting and improving the care that we can deliver to patients, the facilities within which we deliver them, and the opportunities in the digital space to accent and evolve our care capabilities


View all videos
National Health Executive Presents

National Health Executive Presents

NHE365 Virtual Festival: Digital Healthcare

The integration of new technology, such as using virtual outpatient appointments instead of face-to-face reviews of patients in the hospital. Adapting the ways in which our NHS workers serve people has been critical in continuing to provide high-quality treatment, a positive patient experience and preventing Covid-19 transmission during the pandemic. Our healthcare sector has the potential to transform the way we continue to provide essential services while also improving patient care. But how easy is the integration of these innovations into routine NHS practice?

On the 28th of October, at the NHE365 Virtual Hospitals & Technology Enabled Care online event, we will be discussing patient flow and experience, reducing waiting times, reducing the patient backlog and increasing technology adoption. Will you be attending? 

Finger on the Pulse

Ep 14. Health messaging is a science, Professor Craig Jackson

On Episode 14 of NHE's Finger on the Pulse podcast, we're joined by Professor Craig Jackson, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology
Birmingham City University to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the health messaging around it and how those in power have missed a trick by overlooking the key role of psychology in informing the public of restrictions, measures and the ever-changing situation

More articles...

View all